insights

How Much Time Should Your Business Invest in Facebook?

How Much Time Should Your Business Invest in Facebook?

As the online world continues to move, develop, and grow, businesses need to learn how to adapt to the frequent changes. Facebook has been an important part of marketing for many businesses, but how much time should a business be investing in Facebook now?

The past few years of growth in the social media market have led analysts to believe that Facebook is not a worthwhile advertising tool anymore. But this doesn’t mean you should give up on building a group of Facebook fans or a community around which you can create awareness. The key is to find balance based upon your target market.

Does Facebook Work for Marketing Businesses Anymore?

A recent poll reported that one-third of Facebook users are spending less time on Facebook and more time on other social media apps—especially mobile ones such as Twitter. Facebook is not exciting, new, or interesting to users anymore, so many people are moving on.

Large Internet companies have come in three generations. First came Google and Yahoo—the search engines—to help the Internet get organized. Then, MySpace and Facebook pioneered the social media market leaving Google and Yahoo irrelevant from a social standpoint. Now as the third generation emerges, social apps, such as Twitter, are the most useful and relevant because of the stream of information. None of the largest companies have been able to transition to the next generation successfully.

How Users are Putting Facebook to Use

Facebook is not a marketplace (yet). Instead, it is a controlled way for people to connect with existing friends. Most users completely ignore the ads—and analysts have found them largely ineffective—and use it to interact with people they already know, not to look for new information.

The point here is that Facebook is a relational tool, not so much an advertising platform. So you should plan on spending time building connections and rapport, not just blasting posts with your latest product offerings.

Generally, news breaks first on Twitter because it is accessible and simple. Instead of only connecting with established friends, users can tweet with famous people, organizations, and businesses that they would otherwise be unable to have a personal connection with. Facebook lacks the speed and accessibility that businesses need to reach customers if the goal is fast exposure.

The Investment Decision

In order to decide how much time, if any, to invest in Facebook, study your target customer. Do they use Facebook? How often? Do they use another social media app more often? Has your business seen any benefits from being on Facebook? Look at your marketing strategy to see if your time and resources could be spent more effectively somewhere else.

The key lies in determining whether or not you should use Facebook as a relationship builder or just have a simple presence where people can find you if they search for you. There really is very little in between—either you build aggressively or let it sit. If you try to build a Facebook community half-way, it will be a huge waste of time.

If your target audience is engaged on Facebook and your particular business is about building relationships before and after the sale, then Facebook could very well be one of the best investments of time you could make. But if you’re looking for advertising opportunities, you’ll likely find other sites and social media platforms offer more effective means of connecting with customers.

Facebook Metrics and Its Impact on  Your Marketing Efforts

Facebook Metrics and Its Impact on Your Marketing Efforts

Measuring results is an essential part of all marketing strategies. Yes, ALL—including Facebook marketing. Just because Facebook is a social site meant for engaging your target market rather than selling your products doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t measure its impact on your overall marketing efforts. How will you know if your Facebook activities are worth the effort unless you measure results?

Now, when it comes to measuring results on Facebook, most marketers focus only on two stats: Page Likes and Post Reach. We’re not saying these stats are unimportant, but you may be amiss in focusing so closely on them to the exclusion of other important Facebook metrics. Note that Facebook provides some valuable data on Facebook Insights, but you may have to dig deep to find some truly valuable information.

Digging within Export Files

Before moving on to a discussion on the Facebook metrics you should be keeping your eyes on, let us first discuss the basic steps on finding these metrics. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to the Admin panel of your Facebook page and then click on Insights.
  2. Click on Export Data at the upper right corner of the page.
  3. A dialog box will pop out, asking you what you want to export. On the Select Export portion, choose New.
  4. Choose dates based on the period you wish to check.
  5. On the Select Data Type portion, choose Page Level Data.
  6. Click on Download.
  7. Go through the process again, this time, choosing Post Level Data.

Now you know how to get the most important data from Facebook Insights. So, what are the metrics we were talking about earlier when we told you to look for more than just Page Likes and Post Reach? Read on to find out.

1. Fans Reached

The funny thing about this particular metric is that so many online marketers talk about it, but only few actually understand what it is. Simply put, this metric represents the number of fans (people who have Liked your page) who have seen a particular post on your Facebook Page. This is important because it shows you the direct views of your fans on your page and not from an indirect source such as a friend’s comment, like, or share.

What makes this organic search metric so important? Well, if nothing else, it gives you an idea as to which of your content people find appealing. It also shows you just how much appeal your content has to your target audience. The more fans you reach directly with your content, the healthier your Facebook page is.

You can find this metric on post level data you download, following the steps outlined earlier. To be specific, it is listed under “Lifetime post reach by people who like your Page.”

2. Organic Reach

This metric represents the number of Facebook users, whether they have liked your page or not, who have seen a particular post on your page. Again, this metric shows you only the number of direct views of posts on your page, excluding views of posts from comments, likes, and shares. The only difference between this and the first metric is the fact that it includes views from people who haven’t liked your page, but only accessed it to check your posts.

This metric is important because it shows you how appealing your content is to Facebook users in general. A comparison between this and the first metric will also show you if people are able to find your content even without being fans of your page. If the difference between fan reach and organic reach isn’t that big, then you may have to find ways of improving organic visibility.

This metric is easier to find than the first because it is located right on the Facebook Insights interface. All you need to do is go to Insights, scroll down to the list of posts, click on Reach for the post you want to check, and then move the cursor over the bar chart marked “Organic.” If you’re logged into your page, you can even see the statistics directly below each post.

Organic reach shows you how appealing your content is to your Facebook audience.

3. Users Engaged

As you probably know by now, engagement is an essential part of social media marketing. This particular metric shows you how the content that reached fans and users resonates with them. Note that an engaged fan is someone who has liked your page and clicked anywhere within a post such that a story about that post is generated. The key here is a story being generated as a result of fan action.

The number of fans who have engaged with a particular post can be found in Column W of your downloaded export file, under the label “Lifetime people who have liked your page and engaged with your post.”

Other than fans, it’s also important to check user engagement in general, just as it was important to check both fan reach and organic reach. Right beside the data for organic reach, you’ll find the data for engaged users.

Engagement is important because it’s never enough just to get your content seen by as many people as possible. You should also make sure your content interest, and this may be measured only by measuring engagement. When you compare the number of people reached with the number of people engaged with a particular post, you’ll see how effective your content is in generating interest.

4. Post Consumption

This metric is ignored for the most part, but it is actually quite useful. Post consumption refers to any clicks on a particular post on your page, regardless of whether it generates a story or not. This includes likes, shares, comments, clicks on links, viewing of videos, clicks on photos, expansion of comments and descriptions, and any other action that involves clicking on your post. To put it simply, one click is counted as one consumption.

The good thing about this metric is that, unlike the Users Engaged metric, Facebook breaks this down into the different types of consumption or click. It therefore gives you a deeper understanding of how people respond to your content.

You can find data on this metric in Columns O and P of your post level data report. Column O shows the number of consumers, while Column P shows the number of consumption.

5. Link Clicks

Some people also refer to this metric as the click-through rate. It represents the number of people who clicked any link in your post. This is one of the different types of consumption measured by the previously discussed metric.

Why is it important for you to know how many people clicked on links in your post? Well, one of the main goals of your posts on social networking sites is to drive traffic to your company website, right? If a hundred people saw your post and engaged with it in some way, but did not click your link, can you really say that post was 100% successful? I would think not. Think of your link click metric as the last step in gauging the quality of your content. It is something you definitely need to keep an eye on.

There are basically two ways for you to check this metric. First, you could go to the Page Insights Interface and then click on Engaged Users. The data will then be presented to you in a pie chart. Second, you could check the post level data report. The second and third tabs show the different types of consumption, including link clicks.

6. Positive Feedback

There is one statistic on Facebook that has been there for some time, but has recently been renamed and buried deep within the page level data report. When you first view the page level data report, you’ll probably feel overwhelmed by the size of the file and the number of tabs it has. As long as you know where to look, though, you can get some very valuable information from this report.

Among the valuable information we’re talking about is positive feedback. It is important for you to measure positive feedback because it tells you how many people have something good to say about your business. At the very least, it shows you how many people have started to spread the word about your brand. One of the goals of most businesses that market their brand on Facebook is to extend their reach for free. The number of positive feedback will show whether you have successfully achieved this goal or not.

Positive feedback tells you how many people have something good to say or are spreading the word about your business.

Check out the last seven tabs on the report. The six tabs that come before the final tab all deal with positive feedback. To be specific, these tabs show you the following:

  • Daily positive feedback by type
  • Weekly positive feedback by type
  • 28 days positive feedback by type

Three tabs are dedicated to feedback from users and three tabs are dedicated to total count. The data includes comments, shares, and likes from users as they interact on your Facebook page. Although the presentation of data has been changed such that it no longer shows you the number of comments, likes, and shares individually, it’s still a good way for you to gauge the overall impact you have on your target audience on Facebook.

7. Negative Feedback

You can’t expect all of the feedback on your Facebook page to be positive. The old adage that you can’t please everybody holds true to this day, maybe because the saying, “nobody’s perfect” is true as well. Where Facebook metrics are concerned, negative feedback refers to any negative action taken by a fan on your content. This may include hiding a post, clicking the link to hide all of your future posts, unliking your page, or even reporting your content as spam.

This metric is important because it tells you how many fans did not like the content you provide. They were already your fans, and now you’re losing them! This tells you that you need to review your content and maybe even your entire Facebook marketing strategy to find out how you can eliminate or at least minimize negative feedback.

EdgeRank is another factor that makes this metric important. If you haven’t heard of EdgeRank (that’s highly unlikely, but still…), it’s a Facebook algorithm that dictates which posts they display on the News Feed and how high a particular post is ranked. If the number of negative feedback on your posts is high, you’ll have little chance of getting exposure through EdgeRank and that chance becomes less and less the longer your negative feedback metric remains high.

Considering this, you need to check the number of people reached by a particular post and then compare that to the number of negative feedback on that post. Check the percentage of negative feedback your posts get. Try to keep the percentage as near to zero as possible.

To find this metric, you need to go to the Insights interface and click on Engaged Users. At the bottom of the window, you’ll see how many people gave negative feedback. If you want to check the specifics of the negative feedback (how many unliked your page, how many hid a post, etc.), you’ll have to check the page level data report.

Other than Facebook Insights, you may also measure the success of your Facebook marketing strategy with tools like Google Analytics or HubSpot Marketing Analytics. Among the things you can check with these tools are the traffic driven from your Facebook page to your website, the leads that you’re getting from Facebook, and the new customers you’re getting from your Facebook marketing activities.

For the most part, though, it’s still advisable for you to start with the free data you can get from within Facebook Insights. The metrics discussed above and the data you get in checking those metrics should help you arrive at well-informed business decisions that’ll enable you to maximize the results of your marketing efforts on Facebook.

Facebook Fan Page Measurement: Insights and Google Analytics

Facebook insights is a fairly good feature for fan page owners, if you are not using it; you are greatly missing out on all sorts of reports and statistics which are vital to steering your page into the right direction. There is one problem though, for those who are familiar with Google Analytics, Facebook insights simply does not provide enough information. As marketers, we want to know every detail about what happens on our website, or in this case our Fan pages.

Adding Google Analytics to Pages

I have looked in all the nooks and crannies of the web and I did finally find a method of setting up Google Analytics on our pages, even on our wall. Further research was done and I actually attempted to add the corresponding tracking code, however it requires inserting your tracking code within FBML tags. This action is currently not possible, as Facebook will be decommissioning their FMBL support. Basically, Facebook has since updated their pages in order to put more emphasis on their insights tools.

All that said, it is still possible to add Google Analytics to some parts of your page. You can add the tracking code within your custom tabs. If you don’t have any custom tabs currently, and your using Facebook to help your business, it essential you begin using them. The benefits fall back on the ability to add any HTML code, including JavaScript and CSS, practically everything you would on a regular web page within custom tabs – including your tracking codes.

There is a huge flaw in this though, although it is doable, there is an extremely limited amount of information you will receive because it won’t track information from the whole page when a user is on your tab. It will just track the goings on within the custom tab. For ecommerce fan pages or those tracking a conversion/lead of some sort this is a big opportunity to better measure your ROI.

Conclusion

We would all love our Google Analytics to be on Facebook, but we cannot fully edit the source code of Facebook, thus we cannot use Analytics to the fullest of its potential. For now, we will just have to stay put and be “thankful” for what we have, which is Facebook insights. All we can do is keep our fingers crossed for an update in which we can see more information and more detail in our fans activities on our pages.

Guest Author Byline:

This post was written by Lewis Austin and he works for SEO Positive as the Social Media Manager. If you would like to find out more about SEO Positive, follow their Twitter profile or Blog.

Facebook Insights – Major Update Released

Many of you may have already seen this update a few days ago, but Facebook just rolled out the beta version of the new Facebook Insights for Pages. For those interested, below is a quick recap.

Aside from the aesthetic changes, there are several important new data points now available (including an explanation for the ominous “Are Talking About This”). Unfortunately, the new data can only be accessed back to July 19 of this year and in 35 day segments.

There are also several new Insights APIs available that we’ll be investigating over the next few days. Basically, there will be even more data available than is provided in the dashboard. Keep in mind, we are still in the early stages of understanding how Facebook is determining these numbers.

Below is the Official Facebook Page Insights Guide:


Here are a few new Facebook Insights highlights:

  • Friends of Fans – The potential reach of a page when users create a story about the page (i.e. amplification). There may also be an opportunity here to determine the average number of friends per user.
  • Like Sources – Expanded detail on where people are Liking a page. No more “Unknown” category.
  • Reach – We can now see the demographics of people that see brand posts in their News Feed. THIS IS HUGE.
    • Organic, Paid, Viral, and Total are each included as categories of reach. In short, this is a much easier way to determine how effective ads are performing against organic efforts. The Viral category may also be a good indicator on how compelling brand content is among users.
    • Frequency – Shows how many users viewed a post more than once, which is a drilled down version of the previous raw impressions number.
  • Talking About This – The # of unique people who have created a story about your Page. This includes people that Liked the Page, posted to the wall, Liked or commented on a post, answered a question, RSVP’d to an event, etc. This is basically a redefined version of Weekly Active Users.
    • Also includes demographic data and the “viral” reach, which shows the number of unique users that saw a story published by a friend about your Page.
  • EXPORTING – Above all, this is the most important update. Brand posts are now available in exporting and can be broken down by post type (photo, link, video, and platform post). This means that we can see how third party publishers are performing against posts made directly on the page.
    • There are a plethora of data columns that have been added, including post Shares, etc.

For any pages that you currently admin, the new dashboard can be viewed by following the link below and inserting the corresponding page name: http://facebook.com/PAGENAME?sk=page_insights

Facebook Insights Upgrade

What do you think of the new Insights features?